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Thanks Giving

Posted on Saturday Nov 25, 2006

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That stupid hurricane Sergio finally burnt itself out without doing anyone any damage. Hurricane season is officially over in a week, but everything seems to finally be changing back to the normal winter patterns. The late season hurricane was pretty unusual and it kept our friends from meeting us at Punta de Mita for Thanks Giving, so we're having it today! Five boats worth of people! After sitting alone for almost a week it's nice to have some friends nearby. We plan to head further south in about 4 or 5 days, assuming the weather permits. We have to get to Barra de Navidad to meet Sherrell's mom whose going to stay on the boat for about 10 days.

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Stopping Entropy

Posted on Friday Nov 17, 2006

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We’re finally getting ahead of the game.  After stripping the carburetor for the 11th time on the beach, cleaning the fuel tank and using some nasty chemical called Power-Tune, our outboard runs better than it EVER did even when it was new.  We also found the source of our low battery bank problem – a loose cable. Phew!  The final problem that’s been plaguing us is the new in-line water filter we installed on our fresh water tanks.  While it was supposed to be a low-pressure charcoal filter, it has slowly stopped working and only allowing a dribble of water when we pump it with the foot pump.  After a lot of experimenting we decided just to swap the filter out even though it was almost new.  Surprise!  The new filter works 10x better than the previous on ever did.  Weird, but hopefully fixed.

 

The real problem facing us now is Hurricane Sergio, which recently was down graded to a Storm.  It was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded this late in the season and there hasn’t been 2 named storm in Nov. since 1961.  We made reservations at the local marina in case we need to seek shelter.  But now that entropy is decreased on Sarana, it has to increase for Sergio, right?  I don’t know, I never liked thermodynamics.

La Cruz de Huanaxtle

Posted on Wednesday Nov 15, 2006

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This post contains a GPS location. Click here to see it on the map.

We’re anchored off the larger town where they’re scurrying to build another fancy marina for the gringos.  It’s quite a construction with a large breakwater.  There’s lots of live music here and some good places to eat and we have some shore-side friends here from last year.

 

I got the outboard running only to have the sheer pin break or fall out or something.  It’s a mystery because we haven’t hit anything.  And in truth the engine only runs with the choke 2/3rds of the way on.  So I need to find some powerful chemicals to try to show this Honda who’s the boss.

 

Punta de Mita

Oh yeah the surf's here!  The bad side is we've been stuck trying to fix things and find parts.  We spent the whole day looking for a spark plug which included 2 hours on the bus.

 

We really like the anchorage here and there's only a couple of other boats nearby so it feels pretty peaceful.  But my arms are going to look like popeye's from all the rowing if we can't get this stupid outboard going.  I guess stripping down the carburetor 7 times, changing the plug and cussing a lot isn't going to do the trick.  We're going to have to consult someone else for some help on this one.  It seems to have fuel, spark, compression and air, it's only lacking mojo.

 

 

 

Chacala!

"All of us are travelers lost
our tickets arranged at a cost
unknown but beyond our means.
This odd itinerary of scenes
--enigmatic, strange, unreal--
leaves us unsure how to feel.
No postmortem journey is rife
with more mystery than life."
--The book of Counted Sorrows

I read that passage and it just seems to fit the strange journey we've had this past year. At least the scenery in Chacala is superficially beautiful and the anchorage is calm today. We're heading to Punta de Mita early tomorrow morning. Our little plastic boat is anchored in a beautiful little cove and we're overjoyed to be free again.

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Casting off

Posted on Wednesday Nov 1, 2006

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We’ve spent a lot of time wondering if we would even see the day we were able to set sail again.  There were times when things seemed very bleak and our sailing future seemed impossible.  But despite all the setbacks, Sherrell has really bounced back strong and there seems to be no stopping her.  We recently had a full checkup with the oncologist and he was happy to see all the progress Sherrell made over the summer and gave her a clean bill of health.

 

Now that we’re wrapping up the last of our projects:  sewing a rain-catcher, a waterproof cover for the towed generator, a new hatch cover, mending some clothes.  We put the sails back on the boat, provisioned our dry goods, loaded up on diesel, cleaned the decks and ordered some parts for Sherrell’s mom to carry down in Dec.  We’re itching to go.  Just some more laundry, some more provisioning, a few errands and we’re off this Saturday.

 

Depending on the swells we’ll try to stop at Isla Isabela and we’ll probably go to Manachen Bay again to do some warm up surfing in the southerly swells so I’ll have a chance to get back in shape before Punta de Mita where the other surfers are congregating for Thanksgiving Day.  With our new HF setup, we’ll be able to post our position and what’s going on from anywhere!  Stay tuned!

 

By the way, I did some web work for http://www.probillfish.com which is a sport fishing charter company that has a good environmental policy and I really liked the owner.  If you like sport fishing, check them out.  Also, I did an overhaul of http://www.marina-mazatlan.com adding some new features to their site.  Too bad the marina was recently sold to a new owner who is probably going to replace our beloved harbor master Antonio.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed for him and the staff!

 

Lots going on

Posted on Sunday Oct 22, 2006

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We are almost done with getting the boat ready. At the last minute, I traced a problem in our fresh water system down to a corroded pickup tube. Tomorrow we have to go on a hunt for some material to make a replacement. We still have to wire in our experimental water towed generator and while I?¢â??¬â??¢m doing that I?¢â??¬â??¢m going to finally wire in our solar panel now that we are happy with its location. Then we?¢â??¬â??¢ll have to finish off the to-do list, but each day we get closer.

The weather still isn?¢â??¬â??¢t cooperating yet. Since Hurricane Lane we?¢â??¬â??¢ve seen: Tropical Storm (TS) Miriam, Tropical Depression (TD) 2-C, TD 3-C, TS Norman, TS Olivia, TD 4-C and now TS Paul. Paul is expected to build into a hurricane and is currently predicted to make landfall about 100 miles from us. If you?¢â??¬â??¢re comparing this to my earlier prediction, you?¢â??¬â??¢ll see that I was off by a few storms since Hurricane Lane. We?¢â??¬â??¢ll just have to watch the weather, and our next destination is a good hurricane hideout. If you?¢â??¬â??¢re curious about Pacific Hurricanes, I?¢â??¬â??¢ve found a good summary on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Pacific_hurricane_season

Anyway, part of our philosophy of life is to leave a place better than you found it. It could be anything from picking up plastic debris from the water, to volunteering time to build/teach/help do something. Here in Mazatlan we?¢â??¬â??¢ve spent a lot of time trapping cats that have either been dumped here or born in the wild. In total we?¢â??¬â??¢ve helped about 20 of the 30 cats we?¢â??¬â??¢ve caught (in a humane trap of course) find happy homes for them to live in. Some of the others were sterilized and released. We have 2 more 6 week-old kittens to catch (they?¢â??¬â??¢re really tough!) which will bring our total to 30. The marina, some businesses and the cruisers have been helping us to recover our costs for getting the animals sterilized and adopted out. The first cat we tried to rescue this summer ended up joining the Sarana crew!

Here?¢â??¬â??¢s a picture of Jordan. She was six months old and pregnant when she found us. Now she?¢â??¬â??¢s about a year old and at least double in size.



We?¢â??¬â??¢re really looking forward to the peace and tranquility of hanging on the hook.

The "done" list

Posted on Friday Oct 6, 2006

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Sometimes the “to-do” list seems endless – it can even get depressing at times.  Since we’re getting ready to depart in a few weeks, we’ve been working extra hard and it seems like there’s not enough time.  So I went over the list of things we’ve accomplished so far and now I feel a little better.  I know I missed a few things but I thought I’d share the “done” list here.

 

Repaired broken dinghy wheel

Replaced 2 thru-deck fills

Emptied/Removed/Cleaned/Installed Fuel Tank

Installed new fuel fill hose for tank

Repaired/Painted manual bilge pump

Installed new filter system for drinking water

Designed/fabricated new dodger frame

Had new dodger and bimini made

Had new lycra suit made for Sherrell

Designed/fabricated water towed generator

Cleaned jerry cans

Removed/Cleaned Stove

Fiberglass/Painted area behind Stove

Polished Stainless Steel fittings

Sewed bag for surfboard

Sewed bag for anchor chain

Sewed 3 new pillows

Sewed bean bag pillow

Sewed covers for our new cockpit chairs

Cleaned/repaired fittings on toilet

Caught/Fixed/Released/Adopted 24 wild cats

Uninstalled electronics in event of lightening strike

Removed roller furling jib

Sanded/finished all external teak wood

Worked on two website design projects

Volunteer work for 3 websites

Added insulation to icebox

Added insulation to galley food lockers

Cleaned all shelves/teak oiled interior

Sorted books/DVD’s/CD’s

Designed new LED anchor light with more lights

Sherrell had gall bladder removed

 

Ok the last item wasn’t really on the list, but there’s no time like the present to deal with a medical problem that could become deadly like gall stones.  So if you’re counting, that’s 5 surgeries in 9 months for poor Sherrell – that’s a lifetimes worth.

More about Hurricane Lane

Posted on Tuesday Sep 19, 2006

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The flood waters have all dried up and much of the debris is gone. I saw some blubs on CNN about Mazatlan that made it sound worse than it could have been. If the catagory 3 had hit us directly, it would have been a real mess. There were only two or three fatalities in Mexico from Lane and they were related to flooding. There were lots of places where trees were knocked down.
Tree Down!
And a boat next to us was intent on saving his pet tree, much to the amusement of people on the dock. Tree Saved!
But all the boats were stripped and the hurricane was far enough away to make the conditions feel like a normal Pacific Northwest fall storm, but we were in shorts and it rained about 10x more.
Clear the decks
Hopefully the hurricane season winds down quickly. I'm predicting we'll see two more hurricanes and maybe one more depression/storm before the season's done.

Hurricane Lane - Category 3

Posted on Saturday Sep 16, 2006

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Everyone got down to business yesterday getting ready to get our asses kicked by Hurricane Lane. We totally stripped our boat and helped strip several other boats whose owners weren?¢â??¬â??¢t around. At 3:30am Lane turned more right and towards Mazatlan and to make things even happier, it built to a category 3 hurricane.

By about 4:30am we braved the flooded streets to get down to the marina and prep Sherrell?¢â??¬â??¢s dad?¢â??¬â??¢s office and put some more lines on the boat. By about 6:30am we realized we got a very lucky break. Lane continued past Mazatlan missing us by about 30 miles and making landfall north of us by about 60 miles.

Instead of 127 mph winds, we only saw about 45 mph and a TON of rain. I couldn?¢â??¬â??¢t even guess how many inches of rain we?¢â??¬â??¢re getting, everything is flooded. Amazingly we still have power and by 11am the winds have shifted and hopefully in a few more hours everything will settle down.

Some Independence Day for Mexico! Looks like we'll spend it cleaning up all the debris.